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Guide to handling your baby’s diarrhoea & constipation conditions

Constipation

Diarrhoea

What is?

  • Hard & dry bowel movements.
  • Looks like pellets or small marbles.
  • Sudden onset of frequent bowel movements that is more watery than usual.
  • Large runny or watery stools.

Causes

Babies: fluid either breastfed or formula fed.

  • Formula made up incorrectly.

Older infants: of new food to diet

  • Lack of fibre in food.
  • Child not drinking enough fluid.
  • After an illness, where child drinks and eats less.
  • Stomach infections:Virus, bacteria, parasite & rotavirus.Allergy: Food or milk.
  • Side effects due to oral medication like antibiotics.
  • Food poisoning.
  • Infections of the gastrointestinal tract.

Remedies

<4 months old:

  • Give extra Breastfeeds or extra water for Bottle fed babies.
  • >6 months old: Give strained food (cereal, peaches, pears, plums, beans or spinach).
    Avoid squashed carrots, apple and bananas.
  • 1 year & above:
    a) Give more fruits & vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals;
    b) Limit milk produce;
    c) Drink sufficient water;
    d) Help baby pass stool by holding legs against chest;
    e) Place your baby in warm water to relax rectal muscle;
    f) If stress is due to Toilet Training – temporarily revert back to nappies/toilet training pants.

Main Concern: Prevent Dehydration

For babies:
see medical professional for check up and advice regarding treatment.

  • Continue breast feeding, offering more frequent feeds.
  • Ensure sufficient water when feeding formula.

Older Babies:

  • Give food if baby interested as well as oral hydration fluid as directed.
  • Try rice cereal or potatoes.
  • Avoid fruit juices.

Use water when cleaning baby’s bottom and reduce the use of baby wipes to prevent rashes.

Seek Medical Attention when

  • There are no bowel movements for several days.
  • Hard and painful bowel movements.
  • Presence of blood.
  • Tears at rectal areas that are not healing.
  • If your child is under 12 months and constipated.
  • If constipation is accompanied by fever, vomiting, blood in stool, weight loss.
  • Shows dehydration symptoms (Not waking for feeds and is drowsy or lethargic, has a dry mouth, sunken soft spot, crying without tears, or doesn’t produce urine as usual, cold hands and feet.
  • If your child is vomiting?
  • It is always good to see a doctor, especially if under 3 months.
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